Volkswagen’s electric Pikes Peak prototype could potentially spawn a new range of R-badged performance EVs.
With all the I.D. concepts previewing future production road cars revealed recently, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Volkswagen is preparing to attempt a new Pikes Peak Hill Climb record in a new electric prototype race car. After announcing its development last year, VW has revealed the name and new images of its upcoming electric race car. Dubbed the Volkswagen I.D. R, the electric prototype is being developed by VW's motorsport division and will compete in this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24.
Volkswagen says the race car "points to the sporting potential of the I.D. family" of EVs and is "the first step towards a closer relationship between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport," suggesting that it could spawn a range of R-badged performance I.D. electric cars in the future. "We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family," said VW's R&D boss Dr. Frank Welsch. "Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars." Volkswagen's Head of Sales and Marketing Jurgen Stackmann added: "Pikes Peak is without question the most iconic hillclimb in the world."
"The I.D. R project represents a fantastic opportunity for Volkswagen to change the conversation about e-mobility, both emotionally and from a sporting perspective." New renders released by VW show that the I.D. R will adopt an appearance akin to a Le Mans prototype racer. No technical details have been revealed yet other than the fact it will be four-wheel-drive. However, the race car is expected to use two electric motors, with one for each axle like the upcoming production versions of the I.D. Crozz, Buzz and Vizzion concepts. Volkswagen has some unfinished business to settle at the Pikes Peak hillclimb, too.
In 1987, Volkswagen entered a unique Golf with two 1.8-liter engines generating 652 horsepower, but suspension issues forced it to retire just two corners before the finish line. Over 30 years later, Volkswagen is finally making its long-awaited Pikes Peak comeback with the I.D. R. "It is about time we settled the score," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. "The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."
That won't be an easy feat, as VW will need to complete the historic hillclimb in less than eight minutes and 57.118 seconds to beat the current EV record set in 2016 by New Zealand's Rhys Millen in a Toyota prototype.